Monday, 17 February 2020

MPOV: Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)

My rating 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.18/5
Published: February 18, 2020
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Genre: Historical romance

Everything has a price...

Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.

Everything except her...

Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.

When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:

Never underestimate a Ravenel.

The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun...

The above taken from Goodreads.
I've received this e-ARC from Edelweiss in return for my honest review.

OMG! My first Lisa Kleypas and it has blown me away! Albeit a Ravenels no 6! Totally standalone and I could pick up the plots easily. I would say 80% was enthralling, 20% was a little slow especially during the wedding and honeymoon. Overall, it was engaging and exciting! Now I need to look up for more Lisa Kleypas and the previous Ravenels!!!

This book did reminds me of Fifty Shades of Grey LOL! Tom sure did feels like Christian but in a more humanly way. Cassandra is definitely more vivacious compared to Anastasia. It's a case of opposites attract and the attraction had many obstacles which made the novel more interesting. I'm in awe with all the scientific/mathematics included in a romance novel! This truly had me at wow!

I've enjoyed how it was written, plotted and paced. Lisa is definitely at her element and I can safely say that she's been added to my 'favourite romance author' list :-) It's her way with words, so naturally yet truly engaging. Had me wanting to finish it sooner but then life still has to go on LOL! I can imagine it while reading which is a plus point for me! And yes, Man of Steel's Henry Cavill was my Tom Severin LOL!!!

Some notable quotes:





Overall, I've totally liked that there were many references to famous authors and novels during then. Such awesomeness that it has been incorporated in which I felt the relevance of it and so realistic too. Definitely a novel worth reading!


Friday, 14 February 2020

International Book Giving Day and Happy Valentine's Day

It is International Book Giving Day today! Not forgetting it's Valentine's Day too! So kill 2 birds with 1 stone by gifting a book to your loved one today!

In view of this special day, there is a book giveaway to a lucky commenter on Nyc Nat Nook's Instagram! It will be picked by using a Random Number Generator! This giveaway ends on 23rd February 2020 and the winner will be announced on 25th!

So go ahead and try your luck here but make sure to read the T&C first:
https://www.instagram.com/nycnatnook/

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

MPOV: The Noodle Maker

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.41/5
First published: 1990
Author: Ma Jian
Translator: Flora Drew
Genre: Satirical fiction, Asian literature, Short story

#tbntbookchallenge:
1) Read a book by a Chinese author or a red book

From Ma Jian, the highly acclaimed Chinese dissident, comes a satirical novel about the absurdities of life in a post-Tiananmen China.

Two men meet for dinner each week. Over the course of one of these drunken evenings, the writer recounts the stories he would write, had he the courage: a young man buys an old kiln and opens a private crematorium, delighting in his ability to harass the corpses of police officers and Party secretaries, while swooning to banned Western music; a heartbroken actress performs a public suicide by stepping into the jaws of a wild tiger, watched nonchalantly by her ex-lover. Extraordinary characters inspire him, their lives pulled and pummeled by fate and politics, as if they are balls of dough in the hands of an all-powerful noodle maker.

Ma Jian's satirical masterpiece allows us a humorous, yet profound, glimpse of those struggling to survive under a system that dictates their every move.From Ma Jian, the highly acclaimed Chinese dissident, comes a satirical novel about the absurdities of life in a post-Tiananmen China.

Two men meet for dinner each week. Over the course of one of these drunken evenings, the writer recounts the stories he would write, had he the courage: a young man buys an old kiln and opens a private crematorium, delighting in his ability to harass the corpses of police officers and Party secretaries, while swooning to banned Western music; a heartbroken actress performs a public suicide by stepping into the jaws of a wild tiger, watched nonchalantly by her ex-lover. Extraordinary characters inspire him, their lives pulled and pummeled by fate and politics, as if they are balls of dough in the hands of an all-powerful noodle maker.

Ma Jian's satirical masterpiece allows us a humorous, yet profound, glimpse of those struggling to survive under a system that dictates their every move.

The above taken from Goodreads.

To be honest, this book did not grasped me as much hence I took quite a while to finish it even though it's a novella. Being not as engaging, I tend to read others in between but I had to force finish it so that I can proceed with the next #tbntbookchallenge! Not forgetting I do have a few e-ARC's to read and review in queue!

Each chapter holds a different short story though it's inter-related to each other, especially to the 2 main protagonists i.e. The Professional Writer (TPW) and The Professional Blood Donor (TPBD). As these different short stories were TPW's stories in which he hoped he could write, he can only tell it to TPBD as he's afraid of The Party. Most of these short stories ended with gruesome deaths, if not with bad endings. It sure wasn't as attractive to me since I never liked gory stuffs!

Translation wise, it seemed to be fluidly done as I didn't get lost in translation. I was able to understand the gist of it and was hoping for a much engaging story line. I guessed such satirical stories are not my cup of tea. As it is, I kept cringing at the gory parts LOL! The plots were different, as if being told of actual China in a novella way. Having said that, I did enjoy the last few stories which were quite enthralling.

Apologies for the out of focus pics, I was too sleepy to redo it LOL! Anyway, I did liked how the author has named it's content, straightforward and relatable to the relevant stories, a good introduction if you asked me.
Some of the notable quotes:








All in all, it truly was a unique yet dark read with lots of reference to death. The cover did piqued my interest but the title was somehow not so in sync. If you like gothic kinda story, then this novella is for you.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Chap Goh Mei Special!

Finally, it has reached the last day of Chinese New Year celebration. Today is known as Chap Goh Mei or Chinese Valentine's Day. Below is a summary of what it means from Google:
Chap Goh Mei is a Hokkien term that means the 15th night of the new year, which is why it's celebrated on the 15th and final day of Chinese New Year. In Mandarin, it's called Yuan Xiao Jie (元宵节), which means Prime Night Festival.
You can also read more about it here:
https://publicholidays.com.my/chap-goh-mei/

In view that Valentine's Day is also around the corner, instead of having thrown Mandarin oranges into the sea to look for your soulmate, you can opt to gift a flower bookmark to a fellow booklover which is more environmental friendly and useful LOL!

For custom order, it'll take at least 3 days. Currently available at a very attractive introductory price. For more details or to purchase, please click on the link below:
https://nycnatnook.easy.co/

Friday, 7 February 2020

Crochet: Neck Pillow

I've recently crochet a neck pillow as le hubs has been looking for one but the mass market ones were either too soft or not suitable. So I've taken this task to make a suitable and firm one for his birthday present but alas it was one size smaller LOL!

I've used this pattern below as a guide and altered it to suit my needs i.e. smaller holes so that the styrofoam beads do not fall out.
https://www.mooeyandfriends.com/2015/12/crocheted-neck-pillow-12-days-of-diy/
What I've used:

  • Milk cotton yarns
  • Styrofoam beads

So moving on, will continue to make another bigger neck pillow...

Friday, 31 January 2020

Happy Birthday Everyone! (人日)

Just so you know, today is 'Yan Yat' (人日) which translates to 'Everyone's Birthday'. It falls on the seventh day of the lunar calendar thus everyone celebrates their day, or rather their birthday, today! It's an ancient belief where human beings were created on this auspicious day. Hence this is the reason why all Chinese restaurants are fully booked with lots of 'yee sang' sold on this particular day!

Also, I've just realized I have not shared this. As this year is the 'Year of the Rat', there is a special offer for my handmade crochet rat bookmark, while stock last! So grab it fast ya!
For more details or to purchase, please click on the link below:
https://nycnatnook.easy.co/products/handmade-crochet-mouse-bookmark

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Amigurumi: Pokemon inspired Pokeball

My first crochet for this year 2020, I've made a Pokeball! Or two!!! I know, some of you might say, again??? LOL!!! Well, I had an order from a dear friend who supports local handmade market and she has commissioned me to make 2 Pokeballs with key ring! I'm so grateful for friends who truly appreciate handmade which is so rare!

This is an easy pattern which I've concocted. If you would like to learn to crochet this Pokeball, I do teach too. Just drop me an email or visit my Facebook page @NycNatNook for more deets.
Pattern: Susan Stitch Stuff
Thank you so much, Ai Jou, for your constant support!

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

MPOV: The Relic Spell (Book 1 of the Phyrian War Chronicles)

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.67/5
Published: December 17, 2019
Author: Jimena I. Novaro
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Fiction

Magic rolls through Orion Tamura’s history classroom like a tidal wave of golden light that only he can see. The spell is deadly, and Orion has no idea who cast it or what they want.

Answers are scarce—all of Port Monica’s sorcerers vanished fourteen years before, including Orion’s father. Armed with his limited knowledge of magic, Orion is the only one left in the city who is strong enough to investigate the origins of the spell.

But the city’s leaders will stop at nothing to censor and sabotage anyone who gets close to the truth. Invisible otherworlders watch every move Orion and his friends make, and a mysterious sorcerer who knows the answers haunts Orion’s dreams.

The above taken from Goodreads.

Thanks to BookSirens for this e-ARC in return for my honest review.

This book definitely reminds me of The Sorcerer's Apprentice. I kept imagining Jay Baruchel as Orion LOL! Filled with lots of actions that I've lost the plot a few times! Honestly, I had to reread it many a times to grasp the terror which had definitely slowed down my reading progress.

A book about sorcerers and demons, Orion is a young sorcerer who has been catching demons with his friend, Max. He has been trained by his mother who is apparently quite ill. Both his father and Max's parents have disappeared 14 years ago including all of Port Monica's sorcerers without a trace leaving Orion the only sorcerer left to defend his city... well apparently not. With a deadly relic spell reenacted after 14 years and a new sorcerer in town, Orion has to find out the origin of the spell to try to stop it and also stop this new sorcerer!

I truly applaud Jimena for having written this so well! It's action-packed with loads of fighting scenes and yet she could translate it onto paper neatly! I do enjoy her nicely paced prose and was entertained from the start.

Somehow the overall premise did sounds like Twilight + The Mortal Instruments + Xena LOL! It seems to have borrowed scenes from all over, compressed and refined to become The Relic Spell. I guess this is just me thinking too much whilst reading this with my mind actively envisioning this, imagining that. Hence the comparison started when a scene sounds familiar or a part created similarly like this or that.

All in all, it's YA through and through with much sorcery and bravery plus a little love. It does carry some weight of the current social stigma which is difficult to comprehend with their current self. So relevant and on point, hopefully it will indirectly guide the youngsters accordingly with topics like trying to fit in with the cool kids, proving themselves worthy to others and bullying. Also as there's reference to Orion's love for Max, I wonder if it'll developed in the next few books or so. I liked how this book ends, at least it's not a cliffhanger and leave me hanging much LOL! With so much going on, I wonder how book 2 would fare...

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